One of the best and most ambitious of the Roger Corman Edgar Allan Poe series, this is a colorful symphony of the macabre loosely based on two Poe stories. It boasts a magnificent performance from the always wonderful (and often hammy) Vincent Price. Price is Prince Prospero, a 12th-century
Italian despot who lives for his one true love...Satan! After jailing two locals, Ludovico (Nigel Green) and Gino (David Weston) for defying his harsh tax laws, Prospero meets the beautiful Francesca (Jane Asher), daughter of Ludovico and the fiancee of Gino. She comes to him to plead for mercy.
Prospero tells her that only one will be spared and toys with her emotions for his private amusement. When Prospero learns that the Red Death is sweeping the village, he locks himself and his followers in his castle where they continue their decadent parties. Soon a mysterious figure dressed in
red robes arrives but he bides his time outside the castle, playing solitaire in the graveyard.
Weird and extremely downbeat, this is Corman's most sustained attempt at producing an Art Film. It even selfconsciously echoes the work of Ingmar Bergman and Luis Bunuel--two directors Corman greatly admires. The script by Charles Beaumont and R. Wright Campbell is among the most intelligent and
literate of the Poe series. With photography by future director Nicolas Roeg (DON'T LOOK NOW, THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH), the film is also one of Corman's best-looking. It features incredible sets and costumes and a brilliant use of color. Best of all, however, is Price's inspired performance as
the wicked Prospero. While Corman may veer dangerously close to pretention, his crisp staging and confident visual style keep the film from collapsing under its own weight.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: One of the best and most ambitious of the Roger Corman Edgar Allan Poe series, this is a colorful symphony of the macabre loosely based on two Poe stories. It boasts a magnificent performance from the always wonderful (and often hammy) Vincent Price. Price… (more)